A private family has purchased the former home of the National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles at 543 N. Fairfax Ave.
Marjorie Gilberg, CEO of NCJW/LA, said the sale by the organization to a private family closed in December, and NCJW/LA moved out of the offices in November after calling the building home since 1961.
Gilberg did not get permission from the buyers to provide their names or the price of the sale by press time. As of Jan. 6, the Los Angeles County Assessor’s website did not list the 2020 sale of the property.
“They’re not big-time developers. They’re a family that has some commercial properties and wants to expand their portfolio,” Gilberg said.
Gilberg noted that the “huge building” – nearly 16,000 square feet, with 54 parking spaces – was “significantly more space than we needed” for their 14 employees, and finding tenants for the additional space was outside of what the nonprofit wanted to do.
“We weren’t looking to become landlords … in the business of renting out our building. For us, it just made sense to not retain it,” she said.
Gilberg said that the organization is in the process of “overhauling our entire service model” and changing some of the programs they offer, and the sale of the building has made that transition easier.
“Having these funds to be able to dedicate towards this transition at this exact moment is amazing, and we’ve been able to continue our services during COVID and expand what we do for the community, extensively, since we started,” Gilberg said. “It was fortuitous that we were already in the process of selling the building when the pandemic started.”
While the flexibility offered by the building sale is beneficial for now, Gilberg said the plan is to ultimately return to a physical location, ideally one situated above one of NCJW/LA’s Council Thrift Shops.
In the meantime, NCJW/LA staff continues to work from home, and the nonprofit has taken an 18-month lease for office space down the street on Fairfax Avenue, though their mail goes to a post office box. Meanwhile, the search continues for a more permanent office, ideally near the former location.
“[The pandemic] has really changed and transformed how we can work and opened up a lot of opportunity, but we miss seeing one another. We work in a virtual environment, but it’s nice to sit down in a room with somebody and talk through stuff,” Gilberg said. “It’s challenging, but we’re making it work.”
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, said through spokeswoman Alison Simard that he is in favor of NCJW/LA remaining in the area.
“I would love it if NCJW is able to continue to operate in the area in which they operate now,” Koretz said. “They are a terrific organization and provide important services to the community.”
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